Landon Loveall of KB Financial Advisors: “Pay attention to how the advisor gets paid”

These “like me” characteristics could be values, belief systems, cultural aspects, career focus, etc. All of these things can impact how your financial plan should be designed, so look for an advisor who has experience with others like you. As part of our series about what one should look for when hiring a financial planner or […]

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These “like me” characteristics could be values, belief systems, cultural aspects, career focus, etc. All of these things can impact how your financial plan should be designed, so look for an advisor who has experience with others like you.

As part of our series about what one should look for when hiring a financial planner or adviser, I had the pleasure of interviewing Landon Loveall.

Landon is a Certified Financial Planner at KB Financial Advisors, which has been named one of the top Financial Advisors in San Francisco on He works hard on the firm’s On Your Way to Wealth program, which helps young tech professionals with stock options plan and execute their way to financial freedom.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When my wife and I got married after college, we knew we wanted to start saving money right away. We had cheap rent, two jobs, and no children yet, so it was fairly easy.

We knew we wanted to buy a house and start a family, and after a year, we had quite a bit of cash saved up. We started to think about how to save or invest that money in a smarter way, so I started looking for a financial advisor.

I couldn’t really find anyone to work with us in our situation, but I did find the courses to become a Certified Financial Planner, and thought they sounded really interesting. I found the topic of money fascinating, so these courses were probably something I would have done for fun. I also realized that once I earned the CFP designation, I’d be able to help people like my wife and I, who couldn’t find a financial planner, figure out what to do with their money. I got the certification, and started taking the first steps into my financial career.

Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

When you’re a financial advisor, you’re working with money, and the mistakes you make can have dollar signs attached to them. Unfortunately, there’s nothing humorous about that.

About 10 years ago, when I first started working with Jackie Kleinman at KB Financial Advisors, I would help her prepare for her client meetings.

When we had a new client, we’d ask them to fill out a planning profile where they’d tell us their top three financial concerns. People would often fill this out in short hand, and I’d take those notes to prepare the meeting agenda for Jackie. From their shorthand, I’d sometimes edit things into proper grammar or make assumptions about what they meant.

Fortunately, Jackie was quick to correct me on this. As a financial advisor, you must take the time to listen, and you can not make assumptions. If someone typed something out in a certain way, that’s what you work with. You base your conversations on what they said, not on what you assume they meant. This helps you avoid mistakes and give your clients the best financial plan possible.

Lesson learned: If you’re looking for a financial advisor, make sure you find someone who wants to understand you before they ever start telling you what to do with your money. Don’t work with someone who jumps to conclusions.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Right now, I’m working on growing my firm’s program for younger clients called On Your Way to Wealth. In it, we focus on the five most important things busy professionals have to address in their financial plan to become truly wealthy.

A lot of financial advisors only focus on investments, which is great, but investments are only one of the five key areas young professionals need to plan for. And for our younger clients, investments are often the last of the five key areas to be concerned with. There are a lot of things that have to happen before you can have investments that provide financial independence.

Before you get to investments, you have to navigate things like your career, which is the source of all future wealth for busy professionals. For tech professionals, this can also mean figuring out and using stock options to grow their wealth before they can purchase investments.

We also help them do smart tax planning and cash flow planning, since every extra dollar they have represents a decision that needs to be made for their financial future. These are all things that have to be navigated before you can get to the point of managing large-scale investments, and I’m passionate about getting that financial education out there.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?

One of the biggest tipping points in my career was when I met Jackie Kleinman and started working with her at KB Financial Advisors.

There wasn’t anything about that first conversation that I could have anticipated would be life-changing, but it was definitely a tipping point. Eventually, Jackie gave me the opportunity to work with On Your Way to Wealth clients, which I love.

The common theme of all the tipping points I see in my career is consistently showing up, staying focused, keeping your big-picture goals in mind, and holding onto your beliefs and work ethics.

What three pieces of advice would you give to your colleagues in the finance field to thrive and avoid burnout? Can you give a story or example?

1) Hold onto and celebrate your small victories.

There are moments every year when I’m working with someone and a special connection is made between my advice and the timing in their life. It results in an amazing impact, and there’s no other feeling like it. It’s the reason I do what I do.

Keep a list of those moments at the top of your mind for when you’re going through a tough day. It’ll energize you and keep you motivated.

2) Always have your next, planned day off in your calendar.

One of the quickest ways to get burned out is to get trapped in a never-ending flow of meetings and tasks in your calendar with no reward. Always have the next day when you’ll be able to step back, refresh, and do something you enjoy in your calendar.

3) Continue learning.

Learning takes a lot of different forms: going to conferences, talking to other financial advisors, and observing your day-to-day experience on the job. Take time to reflect on what you see and hear from clients, what you learn from others, and how to further impact and evolve your work.

Ok. Thank you for all of that. Let’s now move to the core focus of our interview. As an “finance insider”, you know much more about the finance industry than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to hire a financial advisor (not you :-)), which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing? Can you give an example or story for each?

1) Before you start looking for an advisor, ask yourself what you want from a relationship with a financial advisor.

Different people need different things, and if you get clear on what you specifically need, you’ll have a lot more success finding a great fit.

2) Look for financial advisors that have experience working with others like you.

These “like me” characteristics could be values, belief systems, cultural aspects, career focus, etc. All of these things can impact how your financial plan should be designed, so look for an advisor who has experience with others like you.

3) Pay attention to how the advisor gets paid.

There are a lot of different ways financial advisors get paid. At our firm, we’re fee-only advisors with fixed prices, which means our clients know exactly how much they’ll pay us in advance. This pricing model is important to us, but that doesn’t mean it has to be important to you.

Regardless of how an advisor gets paid, if at any time you don’t understand their compensation model or they can’t describe it to you, that’s a red flag.

4) Does this person listen?

When you meet with an advisor, are they interrupting you? Do they ask questions to understand your situation better, or do they just talk at you?

Do your best to pick an advisor beforehand that will listen to you. If you can’t tell in your initial meeting, go to their website and see what their content is about: if all they do is talk about themselves instead of talking about issues they help their clients with, that’s an indication of someone who might not take the time to listen to you and your unique needs.

5) Get a copy of their ADV Part 2.

These documents are available online because they’re required, regulatory filings all financial advisors have to make. If there have been any past regulatory issues, they have to be declared in this document. It’ll also give you some behind-the-scenes information on how these advisors work and the type of advice they give.

I think most people think that financial advisors are for very wealthy people. This is likely not actually true. Can you explain who would most benefit from hiring a financial advisor and why? Can you give an example?

A person who’d most benefit from hiring a financial advisor is someone who either has really important questions and wants to avoid making mistakes, or someone who has accumulated enough in assets to where there’s an opportunity cost in trying to manage it all themselves.

For example, we work with tech employees with stock options. A lot of times, those stock options are so valuable that any mistakes made could be very costly. A simple mistake would cost a client more than the cost of us working together.

In another example, if someone had $2 million to $3 million and was trying to manage everything on their own, they’d likely lose out on some opportunity by not having a seasoned financial advisor on their side.

Working with a financial advisor is not just for wealthy people, and right now, it’s fairly easy and affordable to get access to high-quality financial advice.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I already mentioned Jackie Kleinman and how her advice has helped me, but Jackie is still one person I think about in regards to my financial career advancing so much.

Prior to working with her, I worked with a number of other advisors, and noticed a couple of things about them:

1) They’d say “tell me what you think about _____,” but they didn’t really want to know what I thought and weren’t interested in listening.

2) Or they would listen to what I thought, but as soon as a mistake was made, the fault all fell on me, even if it was something we were all working on together.

Those are two things that Jackie’s never done to me. She’s always listened and treated me as a valuable partner to work closely with.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement to bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be what we’re already working on by expanding our On Your Way to Wealth program.

I’d want to expand interest amongst other financial advisors to provide financial advice to more types of people. Financial advice should never be limited to the already-wealthy, but this is the general pattern most financial advisors take. The more established an advisor gets, the fewer clients they take on, because they can earn more with less work.

This pattern drives me crazy, especially when there’s so much opportunity to create unique service offers for unique groups of people. Instead of aiming to work with fewer people, we can aim to work with a unique group of people with a unique offer that gives them tremendous value.

You might call this democratizing financial planning, but I think it’s the next frontier. If we can make good financial advice available to more people, we can start working with people sooner, and as a result of that, have a greater impact.

As we expand the availability of financial advice, we can work with clients earlier in their careers, at younger ages, and have a greater impact on their future, which is what gets me really excited.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

The best place to get information from us is at We have an option there to subscribe via email, and we send out helpful, in-depth posts 2–3 times per month with free information highly focused on the needs of tech employees with stock options.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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